Mutant Mayhem casts Jackie Chan as Splinter, a fine choice, but one that’s more than just a celebrity voice. Finally forced to fight to rescue the Ninja Turtles, Mutant Mayhem choreographs an entire Jackie Chan fight sequence, with props, near misses, and reactive martial arts. It’s sensational.
Actually, Mutant Mayhem is all sensational, the best TMNT since the original live action adaptation, and for this generation, almost certainly THEIR Turtles movie. The script, with the consideration this is written with kids in mind, offers more nuance than Shredder seeking world domination. Mutant Mayhem puts the younger-than-usual Turtles on equal ground with the villain Superfly (Ice Cube) who wants mutants accepted in society. Their processes in steering toward that goal differ wildly, obviously.
Mutant Mayhem is special
Mutant Mayhem is special
Generally, Ninja Turtle movies followed the source material to some degree, while adding their own flourishes. Mutant Mayhem turns into an amalgam of familiar stories, with bits and pieces tickling nostalgia bones as much as reinventing what’s known. Having the Turtles team up with Rocksteady and Bebop seems like fan service, but integral to Mutant Mayhem’s message of understanding each other and finding our common ground.
While usually a common theme (the Turtles hide their identities and are shunned), Mutant Mayhem plays with it differently, becoming a central hook in the script, secondary to a villain seeking world domination. The foursome just want to be kids and young teens, go to school, and be seen. They find their “in” to society through April O’Neil (Ayo Edebiri), also just of high school age, but just as socially unseen as the Turtles.
With a frenetic pace and colorful action – all enjoyable – Mutant Mayhem is at its best during the conversations where Splinter is trying to wrangle his boys, where April is honestly intrigued by her new friends, and when the villains casually bowl with their soon-to-be rivals/partners. It’s all written and performed with a delectable honesty and surrealism, that when paired with a masterful art style, makes Mutant Mayhem all the more grounded, albeit in its own weird, bizarre mutant world. When it’s the quiet moments that succeed as much as the action in a kid-friendly cartoon? That’s rare. Mutant Mayhem is special.
The unique animation style pairs perfectly to 4K. With utter and total clarity – no noise, compression, or other inhibiting factor – Mutant Mayhem pours detail onto the screen. The simulated sketch marks are visible to their fullest. Texture is seen in close, in medium shots, and from distance. It’s marvelous, using the resolution to its fullest.
In Dolby Vision, the color explodes in vividness. Sure, the different color bandannas are a naturally fetching part of the palette, as are the Turtles’ green skin. The generous neon colors that accentuate everything have an incredible glow. Light sources? Pure spectacle. Especially great is the mutagen, which glows vividly.
With that, the superb contrast is pushed to a peak. The Turtles first visit to the city in Times Square becomes a brief spectacle as all of the signage nears peak nits. Inside the bowling alley with black lights overhead, the entire sequence becomes one worth referencing, even if it’s just an exposition scene. Backed by the black levels, Mutant Mayhem sports tremendous depth, close to actually being 3D even without the actual effect.
Dolby Atmos produces remarkable depth in the low-end, the weight heavy and bold. Range gives action scenes brilliant LFE moments, and that can be the score, explosions, or even fists. Mutant Mayhem isn’t subtle in its mixing, and that isn’t a complaint.
Paired with overheads, stereos, and surrounds, the soundstage stretches wide, making use of each channel. Discrete motion is detectable even during dialog scenes; maybe a TV speaker spreads into a stereo, or the music fills the rears. New York’s ambiance keeps up a constant presence.
Mostly for kids, the generic making of material, stuff about the characters, and a drawing tutorial make up the bonuses.
TMNT: Mutant Mayhem
A fantastic retelling of the Ninja Turtles’ origins, Mutant Mayhem is this generation’s best TMNT movie.
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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 46 full resolution, uncompressed 4K screen shots ripped directly from the UHD: